Amber Ray, Assistant Professor in Special Education

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Amber Ray
“It is my responsibility to work with students at their ability level to enhance their knowledge and skills in the classroom.”
Hometown:

Lake Geneva, Wisconsin

Department:

Special Education

Degree:

PhD Learning, Literacies, and Technologies (Arizona State University); MEd Reading Specialist (University of Portland); BA Special Education and English Literature (Loras College)

What is your position in the department?
I am an Assistant Professor, teaching in the various SPED programs, as well as the Program Coordinator for the MEd Literacy Specialist Program.

How did you become interested in the special education field?
In high school, I was a summer camp counselor for children with disabilities and volunteered for Special Olympics. Through these experiences, I became interested in a career in special education. As a special education teacher, my interests became focused on improving the literacy skills of my students.

Who would you encourage to pursue the literacy specialist program?
I would encourage experienced teachers who are interested in becoming a specialist in teaching reading and writing.

How does the program best support and prepare students?
The MEd Literacy Specialist program helps students develop a deep understanding of the foundational knowledge of literacy and language. Students use their knowledge of assessment and evaluation to implement evidence-based practices for reading and writing in their instruction. They learn how to help all students, including those with disabilities, succeed. The program is aligned with the International Literacy Association and International Dyslexia Association professional standards.

What is your philosophy of teaching?
Learning is an attribute that I value and desire to share as an educator. Through my experience as an Assistant Professor and special education teacher, I have learned that all students are curious and eager to gain knowledge. It is my responsibility to work with students at their ability level to enhance their knowledge and skills in the classroom. Challenging learners to do their best is essential. As a teacher, I provide an educational environment that allows students to learn in a variety of different ways. I strive to teach all individuals in a manner that they can relate to the material and create real-world connections. Most importantly, I believe that when instructing current and future educators, it is imperative that I model good teaching and the importance of lifelong learning.

What are your future plans?
As an academic scholar in the field of special education, I am continually conducting research that investigates reading and writing interventions and effective instruction. I then disseminate the findings of my research through publications, conference presentations, and state and school workshops. I look forward to continuing to conduct research and disseminate the results through working with and building additional relationships with teachers and schools in Hawai'i